By Liv Field
It would be ironic if the National Party’s Andrew Gee lost the seat of Calare to the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party, because it was his resignation from the state seat of Orange in 2016 that created the space for the Shooters to gain a foothold in regional electorates.
Mr Gee has held the seat of Calare since the last federal election in 2016. Mr Gee represented Orange in NSW Parliament from 2011 until his resignation to pursue the Federal seat in 2016. His resignation in 2016 triggered a by-election in the NSW state seat of Orange, which the Shooters party won. That party then went on to win that seat again in the 2019 NSW general election in March, as well as two other seats further west.
Now Mr Gee faces a Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party candidate who based on state election figures has a real chance of toppling the incumbent. However, state and federal issues are different.
The ABC’s analysis two weeks before the election suggested Calare was less likely to change hands than some other Nationals-held seats. Various media outlets have noted that the Nationals’ traditional role as the party of the farmer and the bush is under threat.
Mr Gee is an Orange resident who acted as a solicitor before entering politics. Calare is considered a safe seat for the National Party, which has represented the area since 2007.
Mr Gee was unavailable for interview, and the information here has been sourced from official party statements and press releases. Mr Gee and the National Party campaign to ensure better education, improve facilities and staffing in regional health, increasing support for dairy farmers, border protection policies and more support for first home buyers.
Mr Gee’s electorate-specific policies include road improvement, particularly around Blayney and Orange, $1.1 million invested into support for victims of domestic violence and funding of infrastructure and programs. Among his claimed achievements for the region in his state and federal capacities are medical equipment such as the radiology machine in Orange and a 24-hour helicopter service, and infrastructure upgrades such as the $2.5 million expansion of Bathurst Airport.
Originally named the Country Party the Nationals traditionally represent graziers, farmers and voters from rural and regional areas. The party has an extensive relationship with the Liberal party, following many similar principles and policies, and forming a Coalition to govern together.